BW in India

After a semester of classroom preparation, 22 students traveled to India for a two-week, transformative experience. 

'Discovering India' Transforms BW Students’ World Views

February 14, 2017

Katie Rider ’19 says her world view was "blown apart" during a BW study abroad experience in India. "I was naive to think that any of my previous travel experience prepared me for India," she says. "India has forced me to grow in ways that I did not previously think were possible."

Sociology professor Jill Stephens Fleisher, Ph.D.  and business professor Narasimha Mohan, MBA, led "Discovering India" in December. After a semester of study and preparation in the classroom, 22 students traveled to Bangalore, New Delhi and Agra for the two-week, transformative, in-country experience. 

Challenged Perspective

BW in IndiaRider, an Englishsociology and sustainability triple major, says students were confronted with situations that challenged their way of thinking coming from an American perspective, especially during a visit to a Bangalore slum and the rural agricultural village of Hoskote.

"It was difficult for me to move out of the perspective of 'saving these people,' or thinking that their lifestyle was unlivable," Rider says. "I had to realize that this was these people’s lives and this was their reality."

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

BW in IndiaPsychology major Gaby Martinez ’16 was impressed that a Christ University microloan program helped build economic independence for the women in the village by, "providing crops, livestock, export of roses and also working on education for its youth."

"I was so grateful to be welcomed into the homes of the people of Hoskote and to meet them, drink chai with them, laugh with them, and play and sing with their children," she recalls. "My heart was full as the kids sang the songs they so proudly learned in school and as I taught them a new one: 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.'"

Career Connection

Rider, who aspires to work in sustainability and environmentalism, also discovered insights into her career field.

"It was fascinating to see how the rapid development, the overcrowding, and the lack of a grid system or omnipresent government affected the quality of development in India," she observes. "This experience really forced me into a mindset that evaluates sustainability initiatives in a cultural context."

Hear More: February 15 Presentation

BW in IndiaOn Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 5-6 p.m., students and faculty leaders will recount more from their experiences as part of a free BW Study Abroad "I Heart Travel Week" program, "Storytelling and Samosas with Discovering India," in Strosacker Hall, Sandstone III.

For Rider, the story of monumental change in her own world view is a positive one. "I think I am a more wholesome person because of it."

BW in India

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